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Blackbear Bosin

Photograph of Blackbear BosinArtist, sculptor.  Born: June 5, 1921, Anadarko, Okla. Died: August 9, 1980, Wichita, Kan.

One of the most well-known sculptures in Kansas stands at the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers in Wichita. The "Keeper of the Plains," a dramatic 44-foot tall steel sculpture of an American Indian, was donated to the city by its creator, Francis (Blackbear) Bosin.

Born of Kiowa-Comanche heritage in Anadarko, Oklahoma in 1921, Bosin came to his adopted city of Wichita in 1940. He began his career as a color separator and plate maker for Western Lithograph and as an illustrator for Boeing Aircraft.

Although the "Keeper of the Plains" undoubtedly is his most widely recognized work, Bosin expressed himself primarily through his paintings. He was almost entirely self-taught, and his early paintings were strictly representational depictions of Indian life. Over the years, however, his work became increasingly complex and the subject matter more profound. A spirit of Indian mysticism deeply influenced his work, and he eventually became internationally recognized for his vivid watercolors and acrylics. Among Bosin's works are the insignia used by the Wolf Creek Generation Station.

By the time of his death in 1980 at the age of 59, the inventiveness and imagination reflected in his paintings had earned Blackbear Bosin a prominent place among American artists.

Entry: Bosin, Blackbear

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2003

Date Modified: January 2013

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.